A View to a Kill (1985) (PG)

Absurdity has always been very close to the Bond movies. They're not asking to be taken seriously, and they shouldn't be. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was the first movie to imply growth in the franchise, yet that growth was quickly demolished with the era of Roger Moore. The emotional depth to the piece vanished as soon as the next dry martini was ordered.
Along comes director John Glen who revived the series after a run of bad Bond movies, yet with "A View to a Kill" there's something altogether laughably terrible about it (and not in a good way). In one the most offensives stunts that the franchise has yet to pull, our villains are Nazi-engineered super babies with a tendency for psychosis. Bred in concentration camps under the veterinary care of a sadist, we get Zorin and his sidekick May Day.
The movie's opening deposits us in Russia where Bond is trying to find a dead agent's body underneath all the snow. We've seen skiing chase scenes before so this is nothing new. Bond skis, the enemy follows, chaos ensues, he escapes.
It becomes tiresome to keep repeating all the same tropes that the series is using. I don't think that there is anything quite original to this movie, it feels formulaic (I've made that complaint before) and not terribly well-conceived.
When did the Bond villains become Saturday morning cartoon characters? Tim Burton managed to capture the comic-book aspect of the Joker with "Batman" and it feels like John Glen is trying to do the same thing with this film (though this came first). We've transcended from action and mystery movies to straight up laughable parodies of themselves.
There's no way that the writers and director didn't realize how ludicrous this adventure seems; but they plod on anyway. You could argue that there's intelligence to the picture, how it obviously over emphasizes everything to the point of self-degradation; but I highly doubt that was the intention. Albert R. Broccoli has produced all the Bond movies through this one. It seems that the series slips into just desiring profits.
Microchips—that's what all the fuss is about. We are introduced to the idea that a nuclear explosion in space could send out a magnetic force so great that it would render all microchips-version 1.0 useless. Enter microchip-version 2.0, immune to the potential nuclear holocaust of space.
Well, that was quick. It seems the peril is over as soon as the movie starts. But wait, there's more.
A man by the name of Zorin (Christopher Walken) is mass producing these microchips-version 2.0. It's unclear exactly what his purposes are but he seems like a shady enough character for Bond to investigate. Incredibly wealthy and posh of the posh, Zorin is not easily approached. He is always tailed by his ninja-sidekick May Day (Grace Jones).
Zorin plans on getting a monopoly of the electronics industry—for what reason? It's not really clear whether or not he has any ulterior motive besides plain ol' greed. For this movie, his greed is sufficient because it is paired with his crazy tendencies.
Bond has to meet a woman named Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) who is somewhat of an expert on geology and tectonic plates. Let me just be up front and honest about this—Stacey Sutton is the most annoying Bond girl yet. She's helpless, whiny, and stereotypical. Her character's brain and the inherent blonde-ness of actions are big plot holes.
Still, John Glen pulls out some very impressive stunt work yet again and the movie is enjoyably mind-numbing.
A step back in the franchise, but not the worst Bond ever.

Score: ★★

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